SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Gear & Maintenance (
-   -   Asymmetrical spinnakers (

petegingras 12-27-2007 12:56 PM

Asymmetrical spinnakers
Okay Sailnet moderators and conversant members; counsel me on the wonderful world of the Asymmetrical spinnaker, and the sail makers that I can choose.

Full disclosureÖI currently sail a Hunter, itís my second Hunter, and third sailboat. I sail the East Coast mostly, Narragansett Bay, down to Mystic, and as far North to Marblehead and Beverly. All three boats have taken the trips. And to date Iíve never utilized a spinnaker, cuz no matter how many are aboard, Iím still single handing for various reasons, those reasons are known to us all. Well, Iíve come to realize that my speed has to be increased, and itís apparent to me that the Asymmetrical spinnaker can add the speed and allow for continued single handing, if not easy direction to myriad landlubber crews.

Iíve contacted Doyle for direction and pricing, and realise that Doyle has franchised their operations, and it can be done locally. Now Iím home based in Rhode Island and that means sail makers here in RI probably have a competent workforce in their lofts, but any direction would be respected, or other options for sail makers to consider.

Faster 12-27-2007 01:18 PM

An Assymetrical spinnaker can certainly speed up a long off-the-wind run, the principal advantage of it is that it requires much less gear to effectively use than a conventional sym Spin. No pole, or pole lift simplifies things and keeps the decks clear.

As a downwind sail, however, it has definite limitations. Typically meant for broad to beam reaching (and some flatter shapes for wind sightly forward of the beam) the lack of a pole to project the sail outward means you are sailing higher angles to keep it full, subsequently travelling further on a dead downwind leg. This can actually mean more gybes as you make your way to downwind.

A snuffer makes the sail very managable during hoists and douses, but if you are truly doing all the sailhandling you will still need a good autohelm to keep the boat on track as you set up the system for the hoist, and raise and lower the snuffer.

Unlike a conventional spinnaker, though, the A sail can be gybed from the cockpit. But there is a lot of line to pull, and again you'll need someone/something to steer the boat through the gybe while you're doing that.

Would suggest adding a proper spinn halyard above/outside the headstay, using a jib halyard will lead to chafe as it crosses under the headstay gybe to gybe.

As to sailmaker recommendations, I'm sure someone local will pitch in here. Good luck, I think you will appreciate having the sail.

petegingras 12-27-2007 01:27 PM

faster thanks,
Sorry forgot to mention the autohelm, yes it's installed and is in use.

Is it feasable to utilize the snuffer to douse and then jibe? So the trade off of not using the pole allows ease of depolyment and dousing, but requires greater attention to course and wind direction?

Quickstep192 12-27-2007 01:34 PM

This is just my 2Ę and even at that you're overpaying. I'm not an expert by any means, so this is largely just crew opinion.

I race on two boats, one a 46' and the other a 26'. Both have Asyms, the big boat has both. The one on the big boat is a handfull. Without a bowsprit, it can be tricky to gybe as the sail tends to wrap the headstay when trying to get it to the "other" side. On the smaller boat the asym is smaller and the boat has a sprit, making the whole thing more manageable. Especially in the small boat, the chute adds considerable performance off the wind, but won't fly dead downwind; you have to sail hotter angles. Both go much farther upwind that I would have expected. I've had good luck with UK sails down here. I would imagine Newport is rife with sailmakers.

Jeff_H 12-27-2007 01:37 PM

I know that I am an oddity around here but I strongly prefer symmetrical chutes for single-handing. Assymmetricals are harder to safely jibe and are way too easy to get wrapped badly around the forestay and as a single-hander you don't have the necessary crew to get them cleared. I have a similar problem with sock launching a spinacker single-handed since you don't have the crew to clear an hour glass and sock launching is more prone to getting an hourglass.

In a general sense, assymmetric spinackers work best on high performance boats and on fractionally rigged boats, which rarely head dead downwind and where there are big VMG gains made by reaching. Symmetrical chutes work best on heavier displacement boats, and boats with masthead rigs where there is less loss to heading dead downwind.

Anyway, that said spinakers of any type are really helpful for any time of boat when sailing at deep angles and greatly increase the number of available sailing days. I am a very big fan of Quantum sails when it comes to spinackers. They seem to have a real advantage in terms of stable flying shape.


Giulietta 12-27-2007 01:38 PM

By all means, buy one and learn how to use it properly...

With the right arrangment you can sail pretty well downwind....

Make sure you install a line on what is the Assy clew, so you can raise it and lower it to provide more or less depth on the lower part of the spinnaker.

Many people just install one and attach the clew to the bow, if you attach it to a line that you cleat in the cockpit it becomes much more versatile.

Faster 12-27-2007 01:52 PM


Originally Posted by Jeff_H (Post 242267)
I know that I am an oddity around here but I strongly prefer symmetrical chutes for single-handing. ....

I'm with you there, Jeff... I think the performance advantages of a symmetrical outweigh the alleged (and sometimes untrue) convenience of a asym.

But the OP was discussing A sails....

petegingras 12-27-2007 01:54 PM

Okay Jeff,
Maybe the advise that first set me in the direction of the Asymmetrical was due to my rigging, it’s a B & R fractional rigg and I don’t sail directly down wind.

But the guidance concerning the lack of a bow sprit does concern me. I guess I’ll seek some consult from a similar boat owner. But the symmetrical spin must now be investigated.

Thank you for the Quantum suggestion…

Giulietta I recall you too single hand just a bit?

petegingras 12-27-2007 01:57 PM

on the 46, does it make sense, or have you, doused the spin with the snuffer/sock to aid the jibe? or is that a no, no?

Quickstep192 12-27-2007 02:10 PM


Originally Posted by petegingras (Post 242279)
on the 46, does it make sense, or have you, doused the spin with the snuffer/sock to aid the jibe? or is that a no, no?

It takes a little bit of time to get it snuffed (and un-snuffed) and in a race that's a no, no. That said, it may take less time than clearing the mess when it gets wrapped :)

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:23 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome